, attached to 2021-08-10

Review by SplitOpenAndMalt

SplitOpenAndMalt Made the venture out to Hershey after the three night run at Deer Creek and cannot say I was disappointed. The venue was open and spacious, it was super accessible to party anywhere on the floor or in the stands. After a torrential downpour, the double rainbow above the Pennsylvania sky set the stage for an awesome night of music.

My group settled maybe forty yards back from the stage and had quite a bit of space to ourselves, even that up close. They came out with a heater of an opener with First Tube-- definitely my favorite opener that I've heard so far, the perfect fusion between a jammed-out fan favorite and an aggressive, up-tempo tune to set the stage for the night. Following it up with Axilla just felt natural (after a few nights of calmer and more joyous first sets, the guys are coming out hot!) and it was evident that the remainder of the set was going to follow the same tone. They dive into their first major jam segment of the night with a nice Type I Fuego-- this song has definitely grown on me and listening to Fish set the stage for Trey and Page to feed off of each other's culminating energy in this version in particular has led me back through the vault of Fuego's past. The succeeding Jim started an abbreviated jam portion around four minutes into the song, and Mike really guides this jam-- this one had the chance to go deep for a little bit before Trey ripcords the main chords to the tune for an awesome peak at 7:45 in. Gumbo is a favorite of mine, too (thanks A Live One!), and it was awesome hearing Trey try and vocode it a scale higher than normal. Sample served as the set's halfway point before breaking out into a traditional version of Steam, which felt especially right given the post-rain humidity in the stadium. Sugar Shack was the first tune I didn't recognize (obviously need to study up on my Baker's Dozen) but I was glad to hear them play an ode to the town of Hershey. Then, wow, what a FAST Llama-- definitely immediately brought a lot of energy back to the field. The progression from that to DDHVL kept the energy immediately high and this is where Page really goes to work. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the synth. And the Antelope closer was absolutely perfect to round out the set-- maybe one of my preferred first sets of the tour.

Set break ended and the opener of NMINML got really spacey within the first five minutes-- this is a multi-element jam that kind of slid under the table and Trey's new rig sounds really nice here. The jam got slightly dark before ending and beginning Soul Planet. I'm not a big Soul Planet guy, but it was nice to hear an up-tempo and fun jam this set as well. I would've preferred to hear NICU in the first set but the song was definitely on par with the feel of the beginning of the set. In a complete change of pace, the band slows down with Joy before jumping into one of the highlights of this second set, Scent of A Mule. As always, the build-up from the silence right before the vocals kick back in was awesome to hear. Golden Age served as a 'regroup' song and Page sounded really good during the last few minutes. Prince Caspian and BDTNL both returned to the 'Joy' feel, giving the set, in totality, a really emotional feel. The Lizards was, without a doubt, the highlight of my show. It was my first time seeing this one played live, and, while I was always fond of Trey's solo at the end, I didn't realize how you could literally hear a pin drop in the venue. It was a surreal experience. Character Zero emphatically rounded out a set that was kinda all over the place.

Before the show, my buddy called a Rock and Roll encore-- it was awesome when they actually busted it out! Page gave us a fun way to close out N1. The show was a little all over the place at times, but, individually, most of the songs were played pretty nicely. Probably a 3.5/5.


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